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Stefanie

I didn't know LWA had a book group. Cool! Also, I now expect a postcard from you written in a Chekovian style ;)

LizF

Oh dear, Chekov is another writer I have never read and really should. I don't do well with classic Russian writers at all really as I can currently only claim to have read about a third of War & Peace and a quarter of Anna Karenina before giving up for one reason or another. Must do better!
It's interesting that your letter writing project has made you want to read letters.
One of my monthly reads this year is the country year through diary excerpts and although we are only just approaching the end of the first month, it is certainly having an effect on my own diary-writing as I am being much more assiduous at keeping up with it - deliberately making time at the end of the day to write rather than being hit and miss about it.
Of course it could have something to do with life being a bit quieter at the moment than usual so I suppose the proof of the pudding will come when I have less time on my hands!

iliana

I still have not read Chekov. sigh. Looks like you have some great books to complement your month of letter writing!

Danielle

It's been ages since I looked at their website--I will have to add them to Feedly--I miss too much it seems! I have a feeling you will see lots of postcards from me next month. Will see what I can whip up a la Chekhov! :)

Danielle

Oh to have limitless time to do all these things we want to do--journalling and daily letter writing/reading. If I can at least manage it through the month of Feb, I will be happy. I toyed with the idea of once again doing monthly reading--since nature diaries seem to abound--and finding a nonfiction book broken down by month or season but in the end I thought it might be too ambitious and better to keep it all simple. I keep saying how I am going to read diaries and letters and in theory I do love them and want to read them only I never seem to dedicate my reading to either of them, so I do hope this is not a doomed wish. If I can devote a nice chunk of reading time this weekend or early in Feb with Chekhov's letters I might have a chance. I have read a smattering of his stories and loved them. I am not sure what my fixation with him is, but I have been collecting his books--and I must own nearly all his works in some combination or other. It is hit or miss with me when it comes to Russians. I managed both Tolstoy novels, but I have to really persevere with them. I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up Turgenev--he was going to be my first classic this year and then I kept setting him aside. So now, for something entirely different I am reading James Baldwin! But I am hoping Chekhov will work and I can get back into those 'Canon' classics. At least with Chekhov, it is lots of short stories, so not too much of an undertaking.

Danielle

I've not read a lot of him, but I seem to own most of his work, so I had better turn my attention to him at some point! Now seems a good time--must just jump right in. I thought it did seem a perfect way to make Feb all about letter writing!

Cathy

Thanks for the head's up about Letter Writer's Alliance. Haven't joined, but most likely will...I do enjoy just anything that has to do with letters. Now if there were only more of us!
What I can tell you from what I've read is 'once a member, always a member' so if you've misplaced your password, they'll give you another...or so they say.

Have never read Chekhov, but The Shooting Party sounds good. Will be scouting for that.

I recently (as in the last 3 weeks) saw a new book of letters by 1 of the Russian authors & his wife. Do you think I can remember who that was now? At the time, I knew I wouldn't be able to fit it into my reading schedule so passed it by. Now I want it! grrrr!

cath

Just might select a book of letters for February as well, not joining the writing I could join the reading:). Thinking about either a reread of 84 Charing Cross Road or (still unread)Letters to Kate, Life After Life, by Carl H. Klaus. I have read My Salinger Year near the end of 2014 and quite liked it.

LindaY

Dani, since you are reading letters, you do know about the Garfield book, right?

http://www.amazon.com/Letter-Celebration-Lost-Art-Writing/dp/1592408354/ref=mt_hardcover?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Cathy

Thanks LindaY! I clicked on the website she recommended, then looked the title up on Barnes/Noble, for some unknown reason the book Letters to Vera by Nabokov popped up. That's the book of letters I was trying to find! Just might be my Feb book of letters to read.

LizF

I haven't read any Baldwin either however I have unearthed a volume of Chekhov's stories which has been added to my (now dangerously tall) pile of want-to-reads. As I still haven't got around to starting the Kipling, I might replace it with the Chekhov volume instead.

Danielle

Which Chekhov book of stories do you have? I might have the same book as I seem to have been collecting him for a while--I think I must have just about all his stories in some variation or other. I am very much enjoying the Baldwin. His prose is wonderful and it makes me want to read everything he has ever written now. I never really gave him much thought--thinking there would be no commonalities and being such a female-author oriented reader. I thought he would be so outside my comfort zone as to not consider him, which now I see is really silly. I dont need to have anything in common with his characters to appreciate the story. And his writing is really accessible--not so far out or difficult as to make me feel out of my league if you know what I mean! On a different note--I am very much in the mood for a good crime novel--you gave me a good suggestion--In a Dark Dark Wood, which I am still waiting for so should really be more patient and wait until it arrives. But, no, had to bring the fist Inspector Huss mystery by Helene Tursten with me. Have you read her before? A chapter in and it looks quite promising!


To: literarycat@hotmail.com

LizF

The collection that I have is The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories but frustratingly I can't lay hands on it, despite knowing that I have seen it very recently!
As I have already gone through several book cases on a couple of occasions in the last week, I'm not really in the mood to do it all again just yet particularly as the kittens always insist on interfering so I guess that I am going to have to wait to make a start on Chekhov!
Funnily enough, I saw a couple of Helene Tursten books on the library shelf last week and toyed with trying one but took something else instead - I will have to take another look next time I am there!
I have the Sara Blaedel book Blue Blood which is the English title for Call Me Princess and have read the first couple of chapters.
Not quite sure what I think of it yet as although I like the character and the storyline works well, it seems to read in rather a staccato manner and I'm not sure if that is how she has written it or if it is down to the style of translation. I will have to see how I get on with it before I make any judgements.

Danielle

I really hate it when that happens--you know that you own a book and pretty much know where it is, but cannot get to it. I can't tell you how often that happens to me and it annoys me to no end. Inevitably I will move piles and shift things about and make a mess finding the book, drag it upstairs to my bedroom where it will sit for a while and then will end up back in the book room again! I have my Chekhov's sitting w/in reach on a top shelf of a bookcase--so optimistic am I that I will read him sooner than later. I understand your reaction to the Blaedel. I have started her first but found the description of the crime (a rape) a little too vivid--far too much information for my liking--and then felt sort of that the main character was sort of 'cold' so I set it aside. Of course as the author is coming and will speak and I do want to hear her, I will try and give the book another go, I think. Maybe if I just speed past those first few chapters and get into the story it will be better.

Danielle

I know--how can people not like to write letters or cards? It is so sad that letter writing has fallen so very by the wayside. The LWA is pretty cool and I need to be more active with them--peripherally anyway. I know they hold events in bigger cities. I will see if I still have emails from them so I can log in again. I have read a handful of Chekhov's short stories and really liked his novella, The Duel. Really must get going on this book of letters. I always plan on reading letters like this but then never seem to reach for the book! I wonder if it is a book about Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Vera? It seems there was something recent published about them. Or maybe Tolstoy? I hate it when that happens --always when I think, no problem, I will easily remember the title...

Danielle

The nice thing about books of letter is you can easily dip into it and then set it aside and not worry about losing the thread of the story. I love 84 Charing Cross Road and have read it several times, too. It crossed by mind to pick it up again. So glad you liked My Salinger Year--I have ordered a copy and am watching the mail for it now. I have wanted to read it ever since it came out.

Danielle

No, I had not seen that one--thanks. I will look for a copy at my library--sounds like a perfect read for this month.

Danielle

Oh, yay, that was the book you were thinking of. I love it when you can find a book through some other means. I should look at that--though I guess I shouldn't tempt myself with more new books! So, you'll have to tell me what you think!

LizF

I found the Chekhov as soon as I stopped looking for it! Partly courtesy of the kittens who managed to demolish a shelf which I had to crawl across a bed to put right - looking at another shelf from a slightly different angle resulted in my spotting it!
I am persisting with Blue Blood and now about three-quarters of the way through despite some misgivings.
It's not so much the description that bothers me - I think I like my crime a little grittier than you do in general and I heard some pretty explicit things in my reporting days - but I do think that, for me at least, the translation is not as fluent as I would have hoped for. Certain words and phrases they use strike false notes - as though they are translating directly rather than looking for an English phrase which conveys the same meaning.

My daughter is in the final months of her Modern Languages degree and is in the process of translating part of a previously un-translated Italian book. She also wants to go on and do a Masters in Translation and Interpreting and she says that the skill of the best translators is how they keep the national tone of the writing while using current English, and I think that that is where this book has its difficulties - for me anyway.

Danielle

Hah--it's like excavating a spot and finding all sorts of new bookish treasures! ;) I have just (literally heard Sara Blaedel speak, and she was really interesting to listen to. Now I am all eager again to get back to the book. I just need to get past that opening crime scene. I seem to have wimped out when it comes to crime novels--too many cozies of late maybe. I wonder too, about the translation. Maybe the story is fine, but the translation not as smooth as it could be. So I will press on, too!

LizF

I hope that you get through the first Blaedel book - I think that you could probably miss out on reading the details of the assault without affecting the story too much and I quite like Louise Rick as a character. By the end I stopped noticing the translation so much as well so maybe there is hope,
It's always interesting to read books after you have heard the writer speak.
One of the events I went to at last year's Harrogate Crime Festival was about 'Irish noir' and at that stage I had only read Brian McGilloway but the others including Adrian McKinty, whose books set in 80's Ulster I am currently finding very hard to put down, were so impressive and wickedly funny that I made notes of all their names and am trying to read them one by one. So far so very good!

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